Reformation to Revolution, Island to Empire: England 1485-1714


Spring 2017
20 Barrows
Day & Time: 
TuTh 12:30-2
Class Number: 

In 1485 at the conclusion of the Wars of the Roses, England was a small and impotent European nation whose government had virtually collapsed and whose intellectual, cultural, and political institutions were insignificant and outdated by broader European standards. Two centuries later, in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, England was an emerging superpower with a global empire, it was one of the thriving intellectual and cultural centers of Europe, and it had developed new political ideas and institutions which would soon sweep the world. History 151A is at heart an attempt to understand this remarkable transformation, a process which will take us through such topics as the Protestant Reformation and the rise of puritanism; the English Revolution and the development of Republicanism; and the growth of English Imperialism from Ireland to North America and the development of the slave trade. It was also take us, along the way, through sex scandals at the royal court, early modern communism, the conundrum of Queen Elizabeth’s gender, and Sir Francis Drake’s astonishment at the freezing cold of San Francisco Bay.